After Zahara got confirmation from security and the label that it was clear, we go to the local county fair. The fair was a bunch of booths, and games, bright lights and loud rides. We meet Carson and Braum at the front entrance, Olivia gushes about all the rides she wanted to get on.
“Hey girls,” Braum says, scooping Lorelei into his arms peppering her face with kisses.
“Zahara already bought passes,” I say, moving through the front entrance. Zahara gives every wrist bands. Immediately Olivia moves towards the games and Lorelei follows, forcing me to follow. Lorelei bounces at my side, commenting at every bright toy and food that smelled good. The girls were the perfect distraction, along with the fans that consistently popped up.
“Okay girls, we’re meeting everyone by the Farris wheel for lunch,” I say, picking Lorelei up from in front of the tank filled with tiny fishes. Olivia was still trying to hit the bullseye to win a new fish, but misses. After the 5th time, we decide to head towards the Farris wheel. “Are you having fun?” I ask.
“Yes! Thank you for inviting me!” she says.
“It’s nothing,” I say. Zahara, Calum, and Alec are already sitting at the table with bowls of cheese French fries, and chili dogs.
“Having fun girls?” Zahara asks when we sit down. “There is a 5 A Clock performance at the pier,”
“This is so much fun!” Olivia gushes. Carson and Braum arrive with their own food, sitting down at the end of the table.
“How is everyone enjoying their time?” Caron gushes. “I’m just having so much fun, I’m usually working during things like this,”
“Taking pictures?” Alec questions, earning a stern look from Zahara.
“We were thinking of going on the Farris wheel, want to come honey?” Braum asks Lorelei. Who shakes her head,
“Lorelei isn’t good with heights,” I say. “I’m going to get us some good, Olivia are corn dogs okay with you?”
“Those sound delicious!” she says, I push out of my seat, leaving Lorelei beside Alec. Moving towards one of the many food stands that surrounded us. The lines were long, but I was in no rush to return to the awkward tension at that table.
“Lover boy couldn’t make it?” Braum asks, stepping beside me.
“He was working,” I say.
“Too bad,” Braum says.
“So, you’re really getting married?” I say.
“I’m really getting married,” he says, I look forward. Staring at the back of the man’s head that stood in front of me. “I really care about her,”
“I believe you,” I say, we move forward in line.
“How do you feel about it,”
“Don’t ask me that,” I say. “You know exactly how I feel,” I say looking over at him. “Why else would you wave her in front of me like a winning fucking lotto ticket? Why else would you propose to her the night before my album release? Why else would you tell my daughter to call her Mama Carson?” I snap, before stepping out of line.
“Adeya,” he starts, but I turn and walk away pushing my way through the crowd. I text Zahara to get the food for the girls, as I make my way to the pier. I can feel my heart hitting against my chest, as I’m bombarded by screaming fans. I had forgotten I was a famous celebrity, and not a teen girl running away from her high school boyfriend. I’m swarmed with photos, and screaming people in my face, and I feel like I’m drowning. Suddenly one of my security guard pushes through the crowd, getting ahold of me, and clearing a path.
“Are you okay Ms. Waterson?” he asks, as we move through the crowd.
“Thanks,” I whisper. Zahara appears grabbing me by my shoulders.
“Are you crazy? Don’t run away from security like that? Are you a bratty princess or something?” she snaps.
“He’s rubbing this all in my face,” I say. “As if having him in my life wasn’t hard enough! Now he’s shoving this girl that he’s barely known a fraction of the time we were together and treating her like some prize show girl,”
“I knew this was a bad idea,” Zahara says, before pulling me into a hug. “I’m sorry, we can leave,” she says.
“No, Lorelei is having such a good time,” I say, pulling away. “I just, I’ll wait here until you’re done eating,” I say.
“Just tell them I have a work call or something, and I’ll meet them at the performance,” I say, she just nods before walking away. My security guard and I move to the seat, he buys me a pretzel from the stand, and we wait for everyone else. I see Lorelei first, cutting through the crowd, I stand up meeting her halfway and scooping her in my arms.
“Did you like your food mama?” I ask.
“Yes, it was delicious,” she says, our group moves towards the performance, I could see a small stage and a man playing a guitar. We stop at the outskirts of the crowd, so we didn’t take attention away from the performer. After the performance we gear up to leave and take Olivia home.
“So, I have something that might cheer you up,” Zahara says, as we make it to my front gates. We roll through towards my house, when I see a familiar tuft of curly brown hair standing at my front door. I jump out of the car before the car even stops.
“Geo!” I squeal, running up the porch and into his arm.
“Adeya!” he cheers, the front door swings open and Laila stands in the doorway.
“Laila!” I squeal, jumping into her arms.
“Surprise!” they both shout.
“We’re staying for Christmas,” Geo says.
“We have to go back to finish the semester, but then the whole tour we’re all yours!” Laila says.
“This is great! I missed you guys so much!” I say, pulling Laila into a tight hug.
“We heard everything girl,” Laila says.
“Auntie Lala! GG!” Lorelei shouts, running across the lawn, Geo walks off the porch scooping Lorelei into his arms, spinning her around. We all move into the house, Lorelei going into great detail about her day at the fair. When she calms down, I sit her in front of the TV, and we all move into the kitchen for drinks.
“I always thought Abraham was crazy, I didn’t think he was a get married quick crazy,” Laila comments. “Where did he meet her again? You think after Demetra he’d be more careful,”
“He met her while moving into his new apartment, she was moving out of her boyfriends,” I say.
“And this was before or after you slept together?” Geo asks, I give him a stern look.
“After,” I say.
“That pig,” Geo mutters.
“I’m no better! I knew what I was doing to Raphael, I just… Couldn’t help myself,” I say.
“And he totally knew that, stop giving him the benefit of doubt Deya, he isn’t the same little boy you met a decade ago,” Laila says. “He knew exactly what he was doing when he broke up with you for Demetra, he knew exactly what he was doing when he took Demetra side and tried to file against you, he knew exactly what he was doing when he made you his shoulder to cry on he isn’t an idiot he’s a boy,”
“You’re right,” I say, leaning back in my sip, drinking down the wine.
“It’s good he’s getting married,” Zahara says. “Now there is no excuse for you to move on!” Zahara says.
“I’m here for that one,” Calum says.
“And you don’t even have to worry about it, because tomorrow you’re on tour mode 100% we start the media tour, and tour rehearsal starts Monday!” Zahara says.
“Busy, Busy, Busy, the best thing to be,” I say.
“And Braum is going to be a memory of the past,” Zahara says.
“Do you like me inside you?” he whispers, as he moves slower. I dig my nails into his arm, biting my tongue.
“Yes,” I whimper.
“You like how I make you feel,” he continues, his pace speeding up. “You like how I make you feel?”
“You’re my girl,” he whispers. “My girl,”
I wake up in a cold sweat, Laila groaning beside me. The TV blinks on the title screen for the Little Mermaid. I roll out of bed shuffling out of me room, I find Geo sleeping on the floor in Lorelei’s room, and my entire kitchen spotless. My head bubbling with the drinks we had last night, the clock downstairs reads 6:30, which meant I had an hour before I had to get Lorelei ready for school. I walk into my kitchen and I start brewing coffee, I make myself a bowl of cereal sitting in the darkness and attempting to forget my dream. I find my cell phone in the living room, with a new handful of videos that I probably took while intoxicated, and a lot of missed messages from Braum, most likely about the fair, something I didn’t feel like deep diving into.
“Good morning superstar,” Geo says, walking into the kitchen. “How’d you sleep?” he asks.
“Like a baby,” I say, sliding him a glass of coffee. “Any plans for today, while I’m busy?”
“Shopping, touring, the usual,” he says. “How are you feeling?” he asks.
“Better than yesterday,” I admit.
“Good morning mama,” Lorelei skips into the room.
“Good morning honey bear, how did you sleep,” I say, scooping her into my arms.
“Good,” she replies.
“I’m going to wake up Laila,” Geo says, moving towards the stairs, I sit Lorelei in her chair and start her breakfast. When Laila and Geo come down, I give Laila coffee, Lorelei her breakfast, and then I leave to start getting ready for my day. By the time I’m finished, May has already come and picked up Lorelei for school, so all I have to do wait for Zahara, when I finish doing my routine, Laila and Geo decide to shower together, leaving me to clean up the dishes from breakfast. ’
“Oh boy do we have a problem,” Laila says, suddenly rushing into the kitchen in nothing but her towel, just as Zahara burst in through the garage door.
“Morgan Studios model, Carson Blake, has announced her engagement to boyfriend Abraham Clifford, College Student and suspected Father of Lorelei Waterson, daughter of Magnolia Records star recording artist Adeya,” Laila says, reading from her phone.
“Holy cow,” I say.
“It’s just like Instagram models,” Zahara says, dropping against the counter.
“What are we going to do? What are we going to say?” I say.
“He’s been sighted to frequently around you and Lorelei for us to deny these claims,” Zahara says. “Jacob said that we can release a statement about Braum, but we have to do it before he says something,”
I grab my phone, and twitter is already on fire about the news. Even some referring to the old photos of when Lorelei was first exposed. I immediately announce a livestream and prepare myself for Instagram. Right before going live, Braum attempts to call me but I decline it, the anger of his apology burning inside of me. He wouldn’t have to apologize if he hadn’t kept doing things against me.
“Hey guys! I know you have a lot of questions, and I know I haven’t been doing a very good job at answering them,” I say, as soon at the live stream starts. The comments immediately start flooding, mostly the same comment. “And I would like to first say, congratulations to the happy couple and I will like to say that I wanted to keep my daughters life private for many reasons, including wanting her to have a somewhat normal childhood, her Father is Abraham and although we aren’t together we’re still close friends and co-parent Lorelei,” I say, before spending the next 15 minutes answering questions, before ending the livestream.
“Perfect girl,” Zahara says, pulling me into a hug. “Now I have some calls to make,” Zahara says leaving the kitchen, Laila has returned from her shower with Geo dressed and ready for her day.
“I feel bad leaving you now!’ she says.
“No! No, enjoy your vacation, I have to work anyway,” I say, and she pouts pulling me into a hug. “See you guys later, take a lot of pictures for me,” I say. Just as they leave my phone starts lighting up with Braum’s name for the 5th time since I ended the livestream. This time I answer. “Hello?”
“What happened to keeping Lorelei’s life private?” he snaps.
“You and your wedding announcement kind of changed that,” I say.
“None of those rumors were true until you came forward,” he says.
“Are you seriously fucking mad at me right now? The same guy who proposed to his fucking girlfriend of 2 months the day before my album released party that I invited you to?” I say.
“Stop don’t be like that, stop acting like you’re giving me handouts,”
“Giving you handouts? I guess you don’t consider staying in an expensive hotel for 2 weeks until you found an apartment a handout or all the flights you made on my dime,” I snap. “This is my job Braum, and just like your new girlfriend,”
“She’s my fiancé,” he says.
“It was going to come out and you know it, if it didn’t come for me, I’d have to do way more damage control than you have to,” I say. I don’t say anything else; I just hang up the phone nearly chucking at the wall but calming myself down.
“Ready for some TV appearances?” Zahara says behind me.
“Where did you meet Abraham”
“How long were you dating?”
“Why did you break up?”
The same questions for weeks, the same looks, the same whispers, the same everything. It wasn’t even like I released an album, or questions about Christmas and New Year’s, it was all about Abraham. It sure did give Carson’s Instagram following a boost. My desperate need for Lorelei to not be in the limelight has vanished and in its place was her Instagram account, and brand deals and everything I didn’t want for her.
“And 5,6,7,8!” Howard, the stage manager snaps, and the band begins to play, I walk up to the microphone starting the song. Standing in the fake crowd was Zahara, my management team. My parents, and friends wouldn’t be arriving until the beginning of the show. It was opening night, day one of my world tour, it was time we left the road, and my life was more than the magazines and running from paparazzi. Lorelei was ecstatic that instead of staying behind like before, forced to see me only during our Facetime calls, she was come with me.
“Adeya! Adeya!” Zahara snaps, walking over to the steps. “You’re zoning out on me honey,” she says.
“I can’t be nervous?” I ask, and she sighs walking over to me.
“This isn’t any different than any of your other world tours,” she says, squeezing me. “It’s just bigger,”
“Was that your way of trying to make me feel better?”
“You know what, I think we’ve rehearsed enough for tonight everyone, call time it 6 don’t forget it,” Zahara says, before leading my off the stage. We walk backstage where May sits in a small area made for her, with Lorelei. There is a screen for them to watch movies and the performance and plenty of toys and games for them to play. “Why don’t you wash up, get ready for the V.I.P session, we’ll have dinner, and then the night is beginning,”
“Got it,” I say. I walk into my dressing room immediately shedding the sweaty rehearsal clothes and moving into the shower. I take a long shower, and try not to think of the nerves, I wasn’t even this nervous my first tour, it felt like the stage was where I was supposed to be, I still felt that way. Jacob said I was still at the beginning of my career, I was young, innocent, and everything the industry wanted, then he said I could move into acting, or whatever path, we had it all planned.
When I leave the shower, Laila and Lorelei are in my dressing room. Laila is braiding back Lorelei’s hair. “Waiting for me?”
“Your glam squad is, Geo is at the snack bar and your parents are coming for dinner,” Laila says, “Heads up, Braum’s parents are here too, your mother didn’t want to tell you, but they miss their grand baby,”
“Well Braum isn’t coming, and that’s all that matters,” I say.
“You’re going to have to see him, he’s going to want to Lorelei before you guys leave,” Laila says, I begin getting dressed.
“I just already have so much on my mind,” I open the dressing room door, and the glam squad comes in starting my first look of the night. For my V.I.P session, and photos with fans. Before that however it was dinner, and as first night show tradition, Zahara confirmed and Italian feast waited for me. A tradition brought on, during my first ever tour, the first night we went to a low-down Italian restaurant and I got food poisoning but still performed.
Lorelei sings my entire setlist while I get ready, and when I’m finished, she’s latched to my hip as I gear up to go on stage.
“There are ready for you, the microphone is on the stage,” Zahara says, grabbing Lorelei from me. “And your favorite person is here,” she says, pointing towards Braum and Carson, who stood with Braum’s parents.
“Amazing,” I say.
“Focus, meet and greet,” she says, pushing me towards the stage. I walk in that direction and Braum walks that way.
“Adeya, we need to talk please,” Braum says.
“I’m a little busy right now,” I say.
“It’s important,” he says.
“It can wait,” I snap, before heading out on the stage greeted by the happy crowd. I spend a lot of time answering questions about the album, and connecting with my fans, which was my favorite part of everything. When that’s finished, we do the photoshoot, where I have to take pictures with everyone who paid for a ticket. I gave a lot of hugs and stopped a lot of people from crying and then I was down, and for two hours I could relax while the stadium fills, and the first acts go on.
Zahara waits for me with Laila and Lorelei, everyone already heading to the crafts table. Before I can grab a plate, Braum is at my side again. “We need to talk,” he says, I follow him away from the table where it’s just the both of us. “I was thinking and talking it over with my parents and Carson and I don’t think Lorelei should go on tour with you,” he says.
“It’s 6 whole months where she won’t have a stable living environment, she won’t be in school, and she’ll be open to more sickness and disease,” he says.
“I’ve already worked everything out, we won’t be staying on the bus, we have hotel suites in every city we’re stopping out, so Lorelei will be having a bed to sleep in, May will be here 90% of the time and is also her tutor so she won’t be missing any school, and it’s not like she’s going to be walking around the city,” I say.
“I think we should think about her staying with Carson and I,” he says.
“Hell no, absolutely not,” I say.
“Adeya that isn’t fair,”
“It’s not your decision,” I say.
“Why isn’t it,” he snaps. I step back and he takes a breath. “When it comes to our child, you seem to be making all the decisions, she’s my kid too Adeya and I’ve been trying to work with you on this, but you have to work with me,”
“Is everything alright over here?” Zahara says. “We hit hair and makeup in 30 minutes, you should probably eat,” Zahara says, walking up beside us.
“Just one second,” I say, she nods taking one good look at Braum before walking away. I watch her go but not before making eye contact with Carson, who stood with Braum’s parents. I look over at Braum. “Lorelei is coming with me no if ands or buts about it Braum, I already gave you all expense paid trips to visit us and see the concert, I’ve already planned everything out and you were okay with it, what changed?”
“Carson wants to focus on the wedding,”
“Then focus on the wedding Braum! But if you think for one second that you’re going to trying to fight me on my daughter you have another thing coming,” I say. “I will make it so hard for you, I’ll make it so Carson can’t be in the same room with her until you’re married and after that I’ll still try hard, because if you want to make it that way it can be that way,” I snap. He doesn’t say anything, just stares at me like he’s never seen me before. “You need to stop letting everyone whisper in your ear about what you want Braum, stop acting like you don’t know,”